Most Mob bosses would sooner slit their throats than break into song. But now that NBC's edgy miniseries Kingpin has put its lead tough guy, Yancey Arias, on Hollywood's Most Wanted list, he hopes to use his raised profile to cut in on the movie-musical movement that has filmgoers humming all the way to the popcorn stand.
"I'd love to do a remake of West Side Story in which a Latino is [the traditionally white-bread] Tony," says the native New Yorker, a veteran of Broadway's The Wild Party, with Toni Collette and Eartha Kitt. "That would be quite an event, making it with a different racial background."
The six-year Miss Saigon co-star is also eager to mount a big-screen adaptation of that long-running show. However, again his interest lies as much in a twist as it does in the tunes.
"Instead of the bad-guy general [Thuy] of the Vietnamese army that I played on stage, let me be the American GI or even his best friend," he suggests. "Either one of those roles would be good for me. I know I could do those numbers."
Naturally, the ambitious performer has a game plan worked out to ensure that he someday wins the parts that he wants. "When people from my past jobs have called me up and congratulated me on Kingpin, I whisper in their ears, 'Hey, let's do this,'" he admits. "So thank goodness for Kingpin!"